Several weeks back, I posted an entry talking about email posting and how I was surprised that so many people didn’t choose email posting as an option for them. Pretty much everyone who commented said that they would be interested in some decent instructions for getting this set up. I’ve been wanting to do this, but finding the time to sit down and do a post like this even a little bit of justice has proven to be hard. Right now though, I’ve got nothing to do here at work, so I figured I’d see what I could do about this entry.
What's the Point?
So, why post to LJ via email? For me, it comes down to convenience. I can set up a couple of email addresses on the LiveJournal web site, and post from anywhere that gives me access to my email. Yes, I could simply post from the web site, but I prefer to have the convenience of a regular good old email message.
When I first brought up this topic, someone commented that he wanted to have the ability to include tags, privacy options, and other things in his entries. Well, you can, even with email posting. There are ways of including everything that you’d include in an entry posted via some kind of client or from the web.
Setting it Up:
The first thing you’re going to need to do before you can start posting via email is to make
sure that you’ve got an LJ account level that offers this as a feature. LiveJournal has five
different account levels, basic, Early Adopter, Plus, Paid, and permanent. If you’ve got a Plus
account or higher, you can take advantage of the email posting option. If you haven’t paid for
your LiveJournal, you’re account type is most likely either Basic or Plus. If you want to check
exactly which type of account you have, go to your profile page, which you can reach by going to
Now that you know which type of account you have, you can start the process of setting up email posting. You’ll want to go to your Mobile Post Settings page. There’s a form on this page that you’re going to need to fill out. One restriction, (if you could call it that), is that you’re not allowed to post to your LJ from just any email address. So, if you’re trying to post from a friend’s email address, it’s not going to work by default.
The first thing this form is asking you for are the email addresses that you will use to post from. You can include up to three different addresses. I’ve included two personal addresses and my work address.
The next step is to create a PIN. This will become part of your email address that you’ll eventually use to send your entries to LJ. The pin can also be put into the subject of the message, but I personally prefer to include it in the email address and then it’s out of the way. Don’t use your regular password as your PIN. The form gives instructions on how many characters, types of characters, so on and so forth that you can use for this PIN.
The next section may seem fairly familiar to anyone who has gone through and really configured their profile page. Privacy settings can be set here by default, or you can choose to use your journal defaults. Whatever you decide here, you can always override these settings on a post-by-post basis as well. You can choose to have all email entries posted as public, private, friends-only, or even to a specific friends group if you’ve set those up. Additionally, you can decide which picture you’d like to post with your entry if you’ve got one, and decide if you want to allow people to comment on your entry or not. Settings that you make here will only apply to your email posts, not to posts made via a client or through the web page.
The next section deals with posting photos as part of your entry. I’m not going to go into that at this point because that could be an entire entry in itself; talking about uploading and saving images. Once you’ve entered all the information into this form, click Save to save your settings.
Posting Your First Entry:
One really important thing to note here is that in order for your entry to post correctly, you need to be sure that you’re sending your message in plain text. How you set this up will depend on your email client. I post through Outlook 2010at home, and through Outlook 2007 here at work. Both these versions use Word as their email editor. So, if I don’t change to plain text before creating a link for example, the quotation marks that are entered as part of the HTML text show up incorrectly in my final post, and that breaks the link.
At this point, you’re ready to send a post. The email address that you’ll use for posting is
"firstname.lastname@example.org". Here’s where your PIN is going to be important though. If you
send a message to that email address, even from an authorized email account, without your PIN,
that entry will NOT post. For me, the easiest way around this was to create an entry in my
address book called LJ. For the email address, I entered in the address above along with my PIN.
So, that would look like "username+PIN@post.livejournal.com". You can also post by using the
first address that I gave and include your PIN in the subject or body of the post by writing
"+PIN", but I’ve found that including the PIN in the email address is the best way to insure that
it’s correctly entered, and that you don’t forget to enter anything. If you do choose to put your
PIN in the subject or body of the message, LiveJournal will remove it before posting your entry.
Just keep in mind that if you write your PIN without including the plus (+) symbol before it, LJ
won’t know that it’s your PIN and won’t remove it from your entry. Finally, if you’re a member of
a community and would like to post via email to that community, just use the community name in
the email address. "username.communityname+PIN@post.
So now that you can post a basic entry, you’re going to want to be able to make it a bit more functional by including tags, security levels, and whatever else you normally include in your entries. It works like this.
Above the entry itself, you’re going to need to include a few lines of information. Separate this text from the body of your post with a blank line. The options that you have available to you are:
The order of these tags doesn’t matter, as long as they all appear before your entry, and as long as they’re written using the proper syntax. This will be "lj-keyword" written without the quotes, Colon (:), space, followed by the tag you want to use. So, for example, if you wanted to add mood text to your entry, you’d write "lj-mood: excited". Again, no quotes.
All the tags work the same way, including security. So, the idea is that you’d write your tag, and then write your information for the tag. ("lj-security: friends"). The friendgroup is literally a specific group of people that you’ve set up. For example, I’ve got a large number of people in a group called online friends. This is a subgroup of my friends group as a whole. So, if I wanted to post an entry only to those people, I’d write the tag ("lj-security: online friends").
If you have an email signature that is appended to all your email messages, chances are that you don’t want that to appear at the bottom of all your posts. If you include on a blank line, two dashes or underscores, ("--" or "__"), any text that appears under that line won’t be included as part of your entry.
If you are posting via email from your cell phone and you’re posting to a user or community that uses the underscore ("_") in the name, you can substitute the hyphen ("-") and LJ will automatically convert it to an underscore.
So, you can see that posting via email, while it might take a little bit of time at first, is a very nice option with a lot of flexibility. All this information is located in the LiveJournal FAQ sections, although that can sometimes be a bit daunting and/or time-consuming to go through. So, hopefully this will help, and that some of you will find email posting to be a useful option.